Armed Forces: Universal Credit

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to publish official statistics of the (a) total number of serving armed forces personnel in receipt of universal credit and (b) mean average amount of universal credit received by those serving armed forces personnel; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he plans to take to (a) encourage and (b) assist eligible armed forces personnel in receipt of the New Entrant Rate of Pay to apply for universal credit; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to collect information on the numbers of Service personnel who are in receipt of Universal Credit. The claiming of benefits is a private matter between the individuals claiming and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Armed Forces offer their personnel a package which includes a competitive salary, subsidised housing and a non-contributary pension. Following a period under training, starting salaries for Other Ranks have risen to £20,400 per annum to ensure they are paid a living wage; new entrants' rate of pay is payable for a maximum of six months. We would, therefore, anticipate only a small minority of serving personnel being eligible for Universal Credit. However, for the minority of those who are eligible, which may include new entrants undergoing training, advice and assistance in making an application is available from a variety of sources, including Commanding Officers, the single Service welfare organisations, SSAFA and Citizens Advice. Information on universal credit is also available online at: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

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